Plethodon petraeus - Wynn, Highton and Jacobs, 1988
Pigeon Mountain Salamander
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Plethodon petraeus Wynn, Highton and Jacobs, 1988 (TSN 208291)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.106370
Element Code: AAAAD12310
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Amphibians - Salamanders
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Amphibia Caudata Plethodontidae Plethodon
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Collins, J. T. 1990. Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians and reptiles. 3rd ed. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Herpetological Circular No. 19. 41 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B90COL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Plethodon petraeus
Taxonomic Comments: Mahoney (2001) used mtDNA data to examine phylogenetic relationships of western and eastern Plethodon and Aneides. She found strong support for eastern Plethodon as a clade, but monophyly of Aneides was only weakly supported in some analyses, though "the monophyly of this clade is not in doubt." Analyses indicated that Plethodon stormi and P. elongatus are clearly sister taxa, and P. dunni and P. vehiculum also are well-supported sister taxa. Plethodon larselli and P. vandykei appear to be closely related, whereas P. neomexicanus did not group with any other lineage. All analyses yielded a paraphyletic Plethodon but constraint analyses did not allow rejection of a monophyletic Plethodon. Mahoney recommended continued recognition of Aneides as a valid genus and adoption of the metataxon designation for Plethodon*, indicating this status with an asterisk. (A metataxon is a group of lineages for which neither monophyly nor paraphyly can be demonstrated.)
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 29Dec2008
Global Status Last Changed: 29Dec2008
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Small range on Pigeon Mountain in northwestern Georgia; not now threatened, but small area of habitat is vulnerable to habitat degradation and other threats.
Nation: United States
National Status: N2 (29Dec2008)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Georgia (S2)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: VU - Vulnerable

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: <100-250 square km (less than about 40-100 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Eastern slope of Pigeon Mountain (a spur of Lookout Mountain), Walker and Chattooga counties, northwestern Georgia; elevational range of known occurrences is 220-570 meters (Jensen and Camp 2004).

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 20
Number of Occurrences Comments: Jensen and Camp (2004) mapped 7 tightly clustered localities that could be regarded as a single elongate occurrence.

Population Size: 2500 - 100,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but presumably is at least several thousand. Usually very abundant where found (Wynn et al. 1988, Jensen and Camp 2005).

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Timber cutting occurred near Harrisburg Cave between 1986 and 1992; continued cutting could be a serious threat if expanded in the vicinity of the cave; moderate collecting by amateur and professional herpetologists so far has removed insignificant numbers of specimens, mostly at Pettijohn Cave, which is a very popular site for recreational caving (A. Wynn, pers. comm., 1995). Jensen and Camp (2005) stated a decline at one locality (presumably Pettijohn Cave) may have resulted from habitat disturbance from increased cave visitation or excessive scientific collection.

Miineral rights to a portion of Crockford-Pigeon Mountain Wildlife Management Areathis property are leased to a mining company that has proposed quarrying operations (Jensen and Camp 2005).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Short-term trend probably is stable to slowly declining. Jensen and Camp (2005) mentioned a decline in one site and continued abundance in two other sites.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (<100-250 square km (less than about 40-100 square miles)) Eastern slope of Pigeon Mountain (a spur of Lookout Mountain), Walker and Chattooga counties, northwestern Georgia; elevational range of known occurrences is 220-570 meters (Jensen and Camp 2004).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single state or province

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States GA

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: IUCN, Conservation International, NatureServe, and collaborators, 2004


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
GA Chattooga (13055), Walker (13295)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Upper Coosa (03150105)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A lungless salamander.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree, Forest - Hardwood
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Limestone outcroppings of "Bangor" group. In Dickson Gulf area, found in steep rocky ravine with intermittent stream, in hardwood forest; specimens collected from cracks in rocks and in detritus-filled crevices between rocks; also found on low rock outcrop and in mouth of Pettijohn Cave. Near Harrisburg Gulf, found on boulder-strewn forested slope, in mouth of a cave, and in rocky ravine.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Terrestrial Plethodontid Salamanders

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including eggs) in or near appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Busy highway, especially with high traffic volume at night; major river or lake; other totally inappropriate habitat that the salamanders cannot traverse.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 3 km
Separation Justification: These salamanders rarely successfully cross roadways that have heavy traffic volume at night, when most movements occur. Rivers and lakes pose formidable impediments to movement and generally function as barriers, with the effect increasing with river and lake size. Treatment of these as barriers or unsuitable habitat is a subjective determination.

Compared to larger ambystomatid salamanders, the movements of plethodontids are poorly documented, but it is clear that home ranges tend to be very small (e.g., Marvin 2001), on the order of a few meters to a few dozen meters in diameter. For example, Welsh and Lind (1992) found that over six months, 66% of Plethodon elongatus males and 80% of females recaptured were in the same 7.5 x 7.5 m grid, and the maximum distance moved was 36.2 m. D. Clayton (pers. comm 1998) estimated that average home ranges may be as small as one square meter. Yet, on occasion, dispersing plethodontids likely travel at least several hundred meters. The separation distance for unsuitable habitat reflects the nominal minimum value of 1 km. The separation distance for suitable habitat reflects the limited movements of these salamanders, tempered by their tendency to occur throughout patches of suitable habitat and the likely low probability that two locations separated by a gap of less than a few kilometers of suitable habitat would represent independent occurrences over the long term.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .1 km
Date: 10Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 06May2011
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 15Dec1989
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Blackburn, L., P. Nanjappa, and M. J. Lannoo. 2001. An Atlas of the Distribution of U.S. Amphibians. Copyright, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA.

  • Buhlmann, K.A. 2001. A biological inventory of eight caves in northwestern Georgia with conservation implications. Journal of Cave and Karst Studies. 63:91-98.

  • Carr, D. E. 1996. Morphological variation among species and populations of salamanders in the Plethodon glutinosus complex. Herpetologica 52:56-65.

  • Collins, J. T. 1990. Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians and reptiles. 3rd ed. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Herpetological Circular No. 19. 41 pp.

  • Highton, R. 1989. Biochemical evolution in the slimy salamanders of the Plethodon glutinosus complex in the eastern United States. Part I. Geographic protein variation. Illinois Biological Monographs 57:1-78.

  • Highton, R. 1995. Speciation in eastern North American salamanders of the genus Plethodon. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics. 26:579-600.

  • Highton, R., and R. B. Peabody. 2000. Geographic protein variation and speciation in salamanders of the Plethodon jordani and Plethodon glutinosus complexes in the southern Appalachian Mountains with the description of four new species. Pages 31-93 in R. C. Bruce, R. G. Jaeger, and L. D. Houck, editors. The biology of plethodontid salamanders. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York. xiii + 485 pp.

  • Jensen, J. B., and C. D. Camp. 2004. Plethodon petraeus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles 783:1-2.

  • Jensen, J. B., and C. D. Camp. 2005. Pletodon petraeus Wynn, Highton and Jacobs, 1988 Pigeon Mountain Salamander. Pages 833-834 in M. Lannoo, editor. Amphibian declines: the conservation status of United States species. University of California Press, Berkeley.

  • Jensen, J.B. 1999. Pigeon Mountain salamander: Plethodon petraeus. Protected Animals of Georgia. Johnson, T.W., Ozier, J.C., Bohannon, J.L. and Jens, J.B.,editor. Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division. Social Circle, Georgia.

  • Jensen, J.B. and While, M.R. 2000. Diets of sympatric Plethodon petraeus and Plethodon glutinousus. J. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc. 116:245-250.

  • Jensen, J.B., Camp, C.D. and Marshall, J.L. 2002. Ecology and life history of the Pigeon Mountain Salamander. Southeastern Naturalist. 1:3-16.

  • Mahoney, M. J. 2001. Molecular systematics of Plethodon and Aneides (Caudata: Plethodontini): phylogenetic analysis of an old and rapid radiation. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 18:174-188.

  • Petranka, J. W. 1998. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

  • SEYLE, W., AND G. K. WILLIAMSON. 1988 (IN PREP). REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS OF GEORGIA: RANGE MAPS

  • Wynn, A. H., R. Highton, and J. F. Jacobs. 1988. A new species of rock-crevice dwelling PLETHODON from Pigeon Mountain, Georgia. Herpetologica 44:135-143.

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